Friday, September 26, 2008

NASCAR Hall follies

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 11:19 AM

The cost overruns for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and museum have apparently so rattled City Councilman John Lassiter that he's retreated into a world of fantasy. Commenting yesterday on the controversy surrounding city staff's wildly exaggerated reports of exhibit costs at other halls of fame, Lassiter said he's satisfied Charlotte is not "spending more per square foot than our competition." Competition?! So now, the NASCAR hall is in "competition" with the Rock & Roll and Baseball Halls of Fame, among others? Guys, get a grip. Rock and roll is the soundtrack of the entire world; baseball has been around over 150 years. And I won't go into the manic levels of popularity of football and basketball. Granted, NASCAR has brought lots of money to this area, and Charlotte was the right place to locate the sport's hall, if one was needed. But attendance for NASCAR events is down — and no wonder, with higher ticket prices and the selling out of the sport's working-class base. Everyone knows the sport is past its peak, which leads to the question: why is the city spending so much money on something with an obviously very iffy future? Maybe our "leaders" are so focused on their adolescent dreams of "competition" and being "Number 1," they can't see what's right in front of their face: the Hall is a bad investment.

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